CTOs Role - Advice for Newbie CTOs

Note: Welcome to the CTO's Role Blog Series! This blog entry continues my series on what CTOs need to know and do, trying to get at the fundamental question of, What is the Chief Technology Officer responsible for?

"Never tell people how to do things. Instead, collaborate on a plan about what to do, and empower them to be creative, autonomous, and encourage everyone to hold you, each team member accountable." -Miguel Guhlin ;-)

Note: This is one in a series of blog entries exploring the role of the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) or Director of Technology. Please be sure toread the whole series! 

Some time ago, I asked a Technology Director in Texas the following:
If you had to give advice to a novice technology director, what advice would that be?
Although Dr. Joy Rousseau (Arp ISD) had always inspired me with her responses to questions shared on a state-wide list of technology directors, I was blown away by her response to my request for advice. To flesh out some of her advice, I've included some quick bullets--not enough since I've been sitting on this list for a bit too long in my inbox--under each of her points but you might visit this page for more neat stuff.

  1. Form a fantastic IT team – hire folks with integrity and a fabulous work ethic who WANT to serve others. Make sure you create an atmosphere that includes a great working environment where folks want to remain over long periods of time. Include perks like the latest desktop computers, mobile devices, and supporting software. Keep the perks coming. A trivial amount of your budget can make your IT Team feel appreciated and important.
    • One example of this is providing iPads and/or Android tablets.
    • The latest Adobe or Filemaker Pro database software are some of the perks my team have gotten, which has paid off in high quality work.
  2. Form a fantastic stakeholder team – include board members, parents, students, teachers, administrators, & higher ed to help you build a vision.
  3. Use observations and surveys to get a feel for what the status quo is and then form a collaborative vision of where you need to be.
  4. Make public reports and board reports on status quo and vision (send home Newsletters, create a News Twitter account, build a Web presence, conduct parent/student/teacher workshops)
  5. Plan for more PD than you ever dreamed of. Make sure your IT team is capable of also handling training sessions
  6. Establish Mentors in your district through excessive training sessions and stipends to help support your vision
  7. Create and submit to your board policies that support your vision
  8. Include student trainees (SWAT Team Members – Students Working to Advance Technology) to assist teachers on demand in the classroom. Certify them for specific jobs and restrict them from performing tasks that they are not certified to do.
  9. Propose a budget that includes a significant district buy-in for technology upgrades, planning, implementation and evaluation
  10. Evaluate all services that you provide on a continual basis and modify or trim them as needed
  11. Be your own PR agent. No one knows what you do or how much you work unless you clue them in on everything. Keep a close communication channel open with your faculty, administrators, board, and community
  12. Realize that everything takes time, be patient, flexible, and a good listener
Wow, a 12-step process for CTOs. Lots of work to do here! 
Source: http://goo.gl/F6RQh

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


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